Food Safety – Thanksgiving

Stay safe this Thanksgiving with some food safety dos and don’ts.

Updated: November 23, 2020

There's enough to worry about this Thanksgiving, food safety shouldn't be one of them. Check out these Thanksgiving food safety dos & don'ts. 

Don't forget to keep yourself safe by following best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections including social distancing, washing your hands, cleaning, and disinfecting. Thankfully, there's no evidence that COVID-19 infections can be spread via food, the consumption of food, or food packaging coming from food manufacturers

Food safety dos

  • Cook your turkey to an internal temperature of 165ºF at the thickest part of the bird and confirm the temperature with a meat thermometer.
  • Learn how to safely cook your turkey whether you roast, deep fry, or even microwave your bird. You don’t want to accidentally burn your house down with a deep fryer or smoker mishap!
  • Refrigerate leftover turkey within 2 hours after it’s finished cooking and throw away leftover turkey after 2-4 days or sooner if it was left out longer. Thankfully, the USDA has created a free, easy-to-use app to help you know the expiration date of leftovers. Learn more.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat.
  • Use soap and water or another kitchen cleaner to wipe down surfaces that came in contact with the raw turkey.
  • Wash your vegetables and fruits before using them in recipes or eating them raw.

Food safety don'ts

  • Don't wash your turkey before cooking it as this rinsing process can cause bacteria to spread to other surfaces.
  • Don't share cutting boards or utensils used for preparing the raw turkey with other foods. Always wash your cutting boards and utensils before using them to make another dish.
  • Don't accidentally cross-contaminate the countertop and other surfaces after handling raw turkey.
  • Don’t defrost your turkey on the countertop, instead follow the USDA approved defrosting approaches.
  • It’s safest not to consume the stuffing that’s been cooked inside of the raw turkey. However, if you do choose to eat this stuffing make sure the stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.

We hope you have a fantastic and safe Thanksgiving!

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